Open Accessibility Menu

Fall Prevention & Safety

Exercise

Regular exercise will help build you strength and improve balance and coordination. Ask your doctor or health care provider about the best exercise for you.

Take Your Time

Being rushed or distracted increases your chance of falling. Sit a moment before you stand from your bed. Tap your toes and clench and release your fists to get your blood flowing. Get out of a chair slowly. Stand and get your balance before walking. Don’t rush through activities.

Clear the Clutter

Indoor tripping hazards include papers, books, electrical cords, shoes, pets, planters, bookcases, etc. Remove decorative scatter rugs. When scatter rugs are needed ( such as outside the tub or shower), make sure they have a non-skid backing.

Outdoor tripping hazards include walkways, outdoor steps, snow or ice, uneven surfaces.

Uneven Walking Surfaces

Approach change in surfaces slowly. Adjust you balance and proceed with caution until your body has adjusted to the change in surface.

Indoor surfaces change from rug to tile or hardwood floors. Thresholds also create uneven surfaces. Replace carpeting or floor surfaces that pucker or are torn.

Outdoor surfaces change from cement to grass or curbs and walkways.

Have Your Eyes Checked

Poor vision can increase your chance of falling. See an eye specialist once a year.

Increase Lighting

Increase lighting along the pathway between your bedroom and bathroom. People often awaken following a dream state and are not 100% conscious of their surroundings due to pain medicine or changes in medical status. Night time or early morning walks to the bathroom are safety hazards when lighting is not sufficient. Add night lights or increase bulb wattage in bedrooms, hallways and bathrooms.

Does every room have a light switch within easy reach?

Increase lighting in the entry and exit way of the home. Sensor lighting is available that will turn on when there is movement. This is good for you and bad for intruders. Again, increase wattage of bulbs.

Pets

Do not pick up pets from a standing position. Sit and let them come to you. When feeding pets; place their dishes at a higher level. Be careful they do not get under your feet.

Medication

Have your Doctor or Pharmacist review your medication, including over-the-counter drugs. Some medications can affect your balance and coordination. Use a pill organizer to keep track of daily intake of medicines.

Shoes

Wear sturdy, well-fitted low heeled shoes with non-slip soles for best protection from falls.

Stairs

Sturdy, easy grip handrails on both sides of the stairs are your best protection. Don’t forget to turn on the lighting prior to going up or down the stairs. Don’t forget to increase the wattage of bulbs at the stairs.

Bathroom Safety

Install grab bars around the toilet and in the tub or shower when needed. Use a shower seat if you are at all unbalanced on your feet. Use a non-slip bath mat inside the tub or shower. If you have a bath mat or rug outside your bath tub or shower, make sure it has non-skid backing. A higher toilet seat is easier to sit down and get up from. Wipe up any floor spills as soon as possible.

Reaching

A safe reach zone is shoulder height to knee height. Place frequently used items within that zone. This includes items in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, etc. The purchase of a reacher, grabber or pick-up tool is well worth the money for picking up items from the floor. Reachers are available for purchase at Torrance Memorial's HealthLinks store, located on the first floor of the West Tower. Or, call (310) 517-4711 for more information.

Kitchen Safety

Use a timer when cooking. Place towels and other flammable items away from the stove or oven. Do not wear clothing with loose sleeves when cooking. If you use a walker do not carry items in your hands. Use a walker bag/basket/tray or a rolling cart to manipulate items from place to place. Be especially careful with hot items. Always use a potholder or towel to prevent burns.

Fire Safety

Make sure you have working smoke detectors throughout your house. Check batteries yearly.

Emergency Phone Numbers

Call 911 in an Emergency. Make sure a phone is accessible from all rooms. Keep family/friend phone numbers close to your phone. If you have a cell phone, carry it on you at all times.

Car Safety

Turn your body completely and place both feet on the ground before getting out of a car. Always fasten your seat belt when driving and when you are a passenger.

Fall Prevention and Balance Improvement Classes

Torrance Memorial Medical Center offers Fall Prevention classes. Participants will be introduced to several different disciplines that can assist them in long-term improvement of balance skills including:

  • Exercise for coordination and balance
  • Stress reduction
  • Principles of T’ai Chi
  • Foot and posture exercise
  • Home safety suggestions
  • Multi-tasking
  • Stretching
  • Vision

Torrance Memorial Physician Network patients receive discounted rates for six week classes. For current class schedule go to www.TorranceMemorial.org/classes or call (310) 517-4711.